THE STORY: From the producer of the worldwide blockbuster hits The Fast and the Furious and its sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, comes the latest installment of the adrenaline-inducing series built on speed—The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Set in the sexy and colorful underground world of Japanese drift racing, the newest and fastest customized rides go head-to-head on some of the most perilous courses in the world.
Sean Boswell (Black) is an outsider who attempts to define himself as a hot-headed, underdog street racer. Although racing provides a temporary escape from an unhappy home and the superficial world around him, it has also made Sean unpopular with the local authorities. To avoid jail time, Sean is sent to live with his gruff, estranged father, a career military-man stationed in Tokyo.
Now officially a gaijin (outsider), Sean feels even more shut out in a land of foreign customs and codes of honor. But it doesn’t take long for him to find some action when a fellow American buddy, Twinkie (Bow Wow), introduces him to the underground world of drift racing. Sean’s simple drag racing gets replaced by a rubber-burning, automotive art form—with an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks.
On his first time out drifting, Sean unknowingly takes on D.K., the “Drift King,” a local champ with ties to the Japanese crime machine Yakuza. Sean’s loss comes at a high price tag when he’s forced to work off the debt under the thumb of ex-pat, Han (Kang). Han soon welcomes Sean into this family of misfits and introduces him to the real principles of drifting. But when Sean falls for D.K.’s girlfriend, Neela (newcomer Kelley), an explosive series of events is set into motion, climaxing with an ultimate high stakes face off.
THE REVIEW: The only obvious difference between Tokyo Drift and the other Fast and the Furious releases is the setting. Throw in generic actors and tricked-out cars and a crummy script and Hollywood seems ready to buy it. Oh, and this was Hollywood’s chance at being cool and introduce drifting—a style of racing where the car slides around turns. Apparently someone thought this was big enough to sell to viewers and it might have worked if someone wrote a good script about it.
This franchise is sinking with each release and Tokyo Drift can’t even boast a decent star. Lucas Black is a mannequin hoping to fill in for Paul Walker and the rest of the cast are generic. Tokyo Drift would have been better off not taking itself so seriously. The fact that director Justin Lin made a movie like Tokyo Drift and took it seriously with the casts’ bad boy flair makes it impossible to enjoy. Its hard taking something so bad serious.
THE EXTRAS: The commentary by Director Justin Lin is very deep and full of insight and depth. Lin talks about setting up scenes and not relying on a lot of special effects. There are also a handful of deleted scenes.
“Tricked out to drift” – This is a featurette about how filmmakers customized cars.
“The Japanese way” – A featurette about shooting on location in Tokyo.
FRANKLY: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is another tried and true example of Hollywood trying to cash in on a weak franchise. Tokyo Drift isn’t even worth direct to DVD status.
+ Charlie Craine